Experts often advise “you are what you eat” for a particularly good and simple reason. Your gut and brain are uniquely tied by a nerve that carries on a “gut-brain romance,” according to Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Naidoo, who is also a trained chef, often gives her patients mental advice from a food perspective, according to Today.
“Food can definitely impact how you think, retain information and carry out daily tasks” Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, tells Newsmax. “Research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add certain foods to your diet.”
Here are some examples:
- Yogurt. According to Naidoo, yogurt contains active cultures called probiotics that boost brain chemicals to help relieve depression.
- Turmeric. The active ingredient in this popular spice is curcumin. Collingwood says it helps protect the brain according to studies on animal models. Naidoo says this protection guards against toxic damage that can lead to depression, according to Today.
- Fish. Fatty, deep water fish such as salmon and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function, says Collingwood. “If you do not eat fish, omega-3 is also found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. You can also take a 1,000-milligram supplement, which is what I recommend to patients.”
- Figs. These biblical fruits are high in vitamin A, potassium, and calcium. Research by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey revealed that dried figs contain essential fatty acids, as well as several phytosterols, needed by the body for sex hormone production. According to SFGate, the potassium also helps nourish your brain.
- Tart cherry juice. Drinking an 8-ounce glass of tart cherry juice in the morning and the evening may be a better and safer way to treat insomnia than taking drugs, according to researchers at Louisiana State University. Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
- Oysters. These shellfish have enjoyed a long history of being an aphrodisiac and rightly so. They are high in protein and minerals such as zinc, iodine, and phosphorus. Zinc is particularly important because it is associated with testosterone and sperm production. But according to Zoomer, research shows that iron and zinc found in oysters also improves mental acuity and clarity.
- Chamomile tea. Naidoo says that sipping one to two cups daily of this delicious tea can help you relax. She cautions that you should check with your doctor if you are currently taking blood thinners, pain killers, or sedatives that could interact with the tea.
- Eggs. Long maligned for their cholesterol content, eggs are a great food to boost your memory because they also contain choline, a fat-like B vitamin that increases cognitive function, says Collingwood. Naidoo adds that eggs can help you sleep because they are rich in melatonin.
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